Company Manager Kelsey Meiklejohn is Puck/Philostrate
Jim Durham, News Bureau Director
National Players’ Tour 62 brings a new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to the Georgetown College campus Monday evening (Oct. 25), but that’s all part of the fun of taking in the William Shakespeare classic today.
Kelsey Meiklejohn, who plays the key role of Puck – the mischievous, quick-witted fairy, said, “the part was written for a man, of course, but I played Puck before in college and it’s what brought me to theatre,” said the ’09 graduate of the College of William & Mary. “I thought we should bring (the mischief) down a little in my portrayal. There’s a lot of sincerity in her.”
Curtain time for this Foust Artist Series event is 8 p.m. in the College’s John L. Hill Chapel. Tickets at the door are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, and $5 for (non-GC) students.
Patrons can still expect: Gods mix with mortals, a feuding king and queen unleash magical practical jokes on each other, spells yield improbable love affairs, and a band of comical tradesmen wander into an enchanted wood and are transformed in the most unlikely of ways. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” arguably Shakespeare’s most popular and enduring comedy, spins a fanciful and fantastical tale of love, complete with nymphs, fairies, and, oh yes, those misguided human creatures.
This National Players’ production offers a fresh twist on the setting, making it relevant to today’s fast-moving, media-saturated world. The woods glow in the dark and fairies dance to electronica, setting the scene for the wonderful and silly vagaries of love.
By electronica, Meiklejohn – who’s also this tour’s Company Manager – said, “We’ll dazzle the audience with a lot of electricity, technology and club music – like if you went to a rave in downtown Manhattan. Everything is still magic, but you know something has happened and you’re not sure why.”
The National Players troupe is known for each actor playing more than one character. “We’re doubling the characters as we think it would’ve been done in Shakespeare’s time,” Meiklejohn said. “I’m still Puck throughout the whole play, but the audience knows I’m Puck pretending to be a human (Philostrate).”
“The journey of the character that one actor plays is similar to the other role – and we are really playing that up,” she added.
Meiklejohn’s example: “Hippolyta is about to get married to Theseus. However, there is a rift in their relationship. The same actors are playing Titania and Oberon who are in the middle of a huge fight over an Indian boy. But in the end both couples reconcile. So the actors are taking similar journeys.”
Founded in 1949, National Players is America’s longest running touring company. Comprised of young professional actors, each year the company travels throughout the country performing two plays in repertory – one Shakespearean play and one dramatic classic. National Players has performed in the East Wing of the White House; in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East for American military; and throughout 40 states. Committed to the development of young theatrical talent and audiences, National Players’ tours celebrate the experience of theatergoing by presenting the world’s greatest dramatic literature.
The cast for A Midsummer Night’s Dream includes Kyle Blair (Bottom/Egeus), Hannah Burkauser (Hermia/Snug), Jenny Donovan (Helena/Snarveling), Chris Egging (Oberon/Theseus), Greg Magee (Lysander/Quince), Kelsey Meiklejohn (Puck/Philostrate), Sam Robinovitz (Demetrius/Flute), and Bethany Rowe (Titania/Hippolyta).
For more information about The National Players, visit www.nationalplayers.org.